Day Seventeen

Didn’t do much today. It was raining a fair bit so Sam messaged saying that he was going back to Bangkok early as he didn’t fancy burning around looking at waterfalls in the rain. It was nice to meet him and hopefully I’ll see him again sometime.

We just had to do some laundry today as everything we owned was filthy and we wanted the mud and poo stains gone. We found somewhere but it was twice the price because we had to get it tumble dried cos of the rain.

We didn’t go anywhere new and just got some food at the place we ate at last night. I thought about buying a plastic poncho. Might come in handy. In a way, the rain is a nice change and clears the air a bit, but it’s mostly annoying because everything takes so long to dry and I don’t want my wallet and phone to get wet so I have to pop them in a little food bag.

We managed to score a mosquito net earlier. It was covered in holes so we had to tie ‘em all off but it’s better than not having one. I bought some contact adhesive to try and fix my shoe which was coming away from the sole. It wasn’t that sticky so had to wedge it under the bed overnight. There was a millipede lurking around the base of the bed as we went to turn the light out. I made Lauren get rid of it as I had done the scorpion last night.

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Day Sixteen

Got up to find Sam, as he was coming with us to Pai, and to book our bus. There was one that went from the hotel. An air-con minivan, it said. We could have got a local bus for ฿70 and a taxi to the station for ฿30, but we didn’t mind paying a bit extra for less hassle and AC. A little flatbed truck thing pulled up a while later. We were all horrified at the state of it and hoped it wasn’t taking us all the way. We said goodbye to Ev and Red and hopped aboard the truck and tried to sit in a way that didn’t have a piece of metal poking into our backs.

Twenty minutes later after going down all the little streets picking people up from their hotels we thankfully got to a little bus station where we got into a proper van. I didn’t realise how many people were getting on so popped my bag on the bottom. didn’t realise that it wasn’t just the five people he’d picked up on the bus; he waited until the van was full so eleven in total. My poor bag. Not surprised my laptop keys are broken. Lesson learnt: put your bag on last.

The ride took about four hours when on Google it says 1:45, but he was going so slow and the van really struggled with the winding hills because of all the weight in it. It was just going through a jungly path the whole way and there was a weird security checkpoint at the province border. It made me and Lauren wonder what makes a jungle and if we actually were in one.

When we finally got there I was a bit disappointed at how big it was. Most things I’ve read make out like it’s a really small town but it’s a bit like a smaller Chiang Mai but with higher mountains. The streets seem quite clean but there’s hardly any pavements as the shops all put their crap on it so you have to walk in the road. There’s also a hard shoulder type thing on the main road that people drive in. I’m not sure if this is for people or cars but you have to walk in it as there’s nowhere else. It’s definitely more chilled out than Chiang Mai and smaller but there’s still an airport knocking about somewhere. We got a grilled corn on the cob before parting ways with Sam who wanted AC and headed to our bungalow. We saw a sign for it as we passed in the van and we found it quite easily. It’s around a ten-minute walk out of town which I wanted for some peace and quiet. On the photos it looks really secluded but it actually looks down the hill onto the main road so you can see quite a few buildings.

We were supposed to stay in a wooden bungalow but it had loads of holes in the walls and there was a brick one with its own bathroom and mesh on the windows for a bit more so we went for that as we thought it would keep the bugs out. It also had a better view I reckon which was one of the main reasons for choosing Tony’s even though it’s full of houses and a weirdly ugly turquoise building that stands out like a sore thumb, whatever that means.

Once we got inside we realised that the mesh on the windows was loose in the corner, neither the windows nor door closed completely, the bathroom was outside but inside again, and there was no mosquito net in this one which we thought we’d need. The doors are glass so you can look at stuff without getting covered in bugs but the wicker bench at the wooden bungalow has been replaced or a concrete one here so I got a sore bum when I read my Kindle out there too long. It’s not exactly a palace but it’s nice to see the clouds in between the mountains in the distance. There’s some kinda temple set in the trees I can see too which would be cool to visit.

After getting settled a bit, I messaged Sam and we went for something to eat. I got a bowl of curry noodles, a couple of curry pus and a tomato avocado grilled cheese bruschetta thing. I got a pair of simple pants or ฿130 to keep the bugs off my legs, so I’m fully protected now, hopefully.

I didn’t realise how Reggae this place was. There’s loads of hippies knocking about possibly outnumbering the locals and most bars have Bob Marley type stuff playing. I’m not a fan but if you were this is the place. Had a mojito at a bar that was playing Eminem when we went past earlier but had a live act come on. We moved to another bar and another live act came on. We tried to go up to the roof as was advertised but it was a little square half the size of my kitchen with a load of lay abouts sprawled everywhere saying “O yahh”, so we left. Just went to one more bar (that had a couch that was more hole than material and a tyre for a chair) for an expensive beer then went home. The place does have a mellow night time scene with lots of twinkle lights which I liked in spite of the filthy hippies.

Got back to the room to find a scorpion chilling out on the wall. I wanted to kill it but Lauren said I had to catch it and throw it outside. Got one of our water bottles and put it over it which it didn’t like so it tried to sting the bottle a couple of times. I proper launched it out the door, secretly hoping that it went hurling to a watery grave in the lake at the bottom of the hill.

Day Fifteen

Didn’t have much work to do today as it was our last day. Normal routine in the morning and then just walked the dogs at one-ish because the new recruits for the week start pulling their weight now. I didn’t get to walk Whoo Tong in the afternoon ‘cos it was raining, so I just went in to say goodbye. He was fine and we were play fighting but then I pushed him and he got all sulky so I just left. I was sad to be leaving the dogs, and when you spend time anywhere there will be things you’ll miss when you leave, but packing up my stuff felt good.

I used my free time to take pictures of the place and some of the dogs then just hung around for a few hours until the bus came. I couldn’t get on fast enough and tried to avoid all the people I didn’t like but said thanks to Jess for being patient with us, mostly just because she was the only one that wasn’t too impatient but I didn’t wanna cause waves. It felt strange leaving because we’d been stuck in the same 500m or so radius for eight days so seeing where the road that we’d been walking the dogs on led to felt odd. It made me feel like we weren’t trapped there after all but we’d chosen to stay. I don’t know if that made me feel better or worse.

The drive back made me realise that we were actually in the jungle. I saw a long-necked woman of the Karen tribe. They’re the ones with all the coils around their necks to stretch ‘em. Her neck wasn’t the longest but it still made me feel like I’d seen it so there wasn’t a need to go to a village to see them.

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The French had decided to stay with us in Chiang Mai so we went back to Julie’s and got a superior room again for a touch of comfort after the week we’d had. Went out for a mozzarella pizza and we all found the night market this time. It was in the walls as it was Sunday, and I picked up a long-sleeved shirt and a vest for ฿50 each. The mosquitos are annoying me so much that I thought a long top would help. Didn’t see any pants that didn’t have elephants on so I left those for another day. The market had all the same gear as the Saturday one so I haven’t got much to say about it, but it seemed a tad quieter and I didn’t see any live music today. Swings and roundabouts. I hadn’t felt great today and with all the hustle and bustle I felt dizzy and sweaty so we went back to the room around nine and hit the hay.

Day Fourteen

Was thinking about Whoo Tong this morning. Bit sad to be leaving him behind. I was saying to Lauren that it’s not fair on him as he’s not the best-looking dog and they’ve put “may be aggressive with other dogs” on his note sheet, even though there are other dogs that are worse but haven’t got that. It’s not how people choose dogs. I can tell you now that there’s a bog standard husky thing that has the personality of a wet teabag that has been snapped up and adopted because they’re fashionable right now. People aren’t spending time bonding with the dogs to choose one with good characteristics, or looking at what dog needs a home the most; they’re just looking at the outside and getting a good “deal” on an expensive dog that they’ll then tell everyone they’ve “rescued”. Yeah, right. Rescued from what? The next tourist that comes around to buy it two days later? What a joke. Shallow people make up a big portion of the world, I think. Whoo Tong has no chance with these kinds of people. He’s a mongrel, has scars on his side and rump and has an aggressive label attached to him (metaphorically), but he’s great. You have to be firm with him at times, as he can be stubborn, but he walks good, get really excited when I come in with the lead but always lets me put it on without jumping all over the place, play fights with me and never hurts, comes and sits by me and licks me when I sit down in his run, he reacts to growly dogs in turn and used to jump 180 degrees and try and chew the lead in half as I think I’ve mentioned but now I just put my hand on his neck and he just keeps walking. He has a lot of love to give, if someone would give him a chance. I hope someone takes him away soon, but the reality is that he will probably be stuck here for a long time until a special someone comes along, because there’s so many other dogs here that would be in most people’s eyes “in front of him in the queue”: pups, pure breeds, placid dogs, etc. It’s sad but it’s the way it is and as they get more dogs in all the time, Whoo Tong is going to lurk at the back of that queue for ages. You’d have to be adopting with the motivation of helping a dog rather than wanting a perfect pet.Image result for singh beer

Nothing special happened today really. There was a talk by the park owner that everyone went to, but I felt like it would just be shameless self-promotion so I didn’t bother going. I just grabbed a singh and found a nice little space down by the river to sit and look at the mountains and watch the insects. A butterfly landed on my foot. I have a feeling there’s a metaphor in there somewhere but I’m not sure. Had a vegetarian BBQ for dinner with three ice-creams. Had one last proper talk with the French lot over a beer before going to bed.

Day Thirteen

Sick of it today. Was asleep by half eight, so got ten hours, but still felt tired. Thought it might be my scorpion bites from yesterday killing me off, but I’m still alive so maybe not.

I went rogue today. Walked the dogs in the morning and then went to the room for two and a half hours until lunch. Hoped someone would say something so I could confront them about the dynamic between us. What with them treating us like we’re employees. But Lauren said either no one noticed or just didn’t say anything. I wasn’t bothered anyway, as I had a nice bit of peace in the room listening to music and thinking. Lauren asked Jess for a half day off tomorrow and she said “No”. This annoyed me. They’re not in a position to tell us we have to come in. We’re volunteers AND were paying for the privilege. They don’t give us a day off; we give them days in. We hold the cards. The only thing is that when it turns into a power game the dogs will end up suffering, which isn’t fair, so most people feel guilt tripped into doing what they say.

There were some dog fights on the platform after dinner as there are a couple of rebel young dogs from outside the park that wander in and don’t know their place so they get attacked sometimes.

Day Twelve

There were no proper muffins today, only banana bread ones. I feel like there’s not that much to write about while I’m here ‘cos the grind is very similar each day, and I don’t want to force words onto the page for the sake of it. I’m glad that were going soon for many reasons but also for the sake of the diary.

Today was a hard day to deal with because Jen was complaining a lot, making remarks about me to Lauren such as “Oh tell Connor not to walk Whoo Tong because he’s aggressive”. (I walked past every other dog in the clinic while they were out and had no problems.) “He’s gone to the shop? That’s what lunch time is for!” I can go wherever I want; you’re not my boss and I needed a coke. Chill, lady!

I realised at dinner time that i had two massive lumps on my shin—probably insect bites, but they’re like someone has kicked me, as I have two colourless bruise-type things. I think they’re from sitting out after dinner last night. There were loads of things flying about, so it could be anything. I’d forgotten to put bug spray on, so I’ll have to be more careful in future. Lauren and I got a beer and some cookies and headed back to the room to relax. I found a spot on Whoo Tong’s chest where he likes to be scratched. I’m gonna write it on his medical chart so his new owner that he hopefully gets soon will know how to cheer him up.

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Day Eleven

Got Lauren up at 06:30 to go get loads of muffins before the Americans came and ate ‘em all again. She wasn’t happy. Weather has been shocking today, so everything was muddy and there are big puddles and rivers all over the ground that make getting about hard. I feel bad on the dogs ‘cos a few of ‘em are scared of thunder. I also feel bad on myself because I haven’t been properly dry for ages; sweat, rain, half dried laundry, etc.

They weren’t cracking the whip as hard today, although we did get a funny comment at 12:45: “You do know we start at 12:30, right?” with a snotty tone. Lauren was nice and said that we thought we start at 1.00pm, but I’d have just ignored her or went for a half hour nap. The same woman also annoyed me again; she insisted I had to go into the disabled dogs tiled run to retrieve a pair of rubber booties that were being worn by the dog that had just bailed out of its wheelchair and was dragging itself across the floor at breakneck speeds through piles of turds. What she said was “You need to get the rubber booties! And make sure you take off your shoes!” I did ‘cos I was in a hurry to get the dog shoes back but a second later I thought, “Hang on a minute…I’m taking off my shoes so as not to get MUD into an enclosure smeared with CRAP?!” Are these people retards?! Well, this woman has a stray dog sleep in her bed, probably has rabies and uses her finger as a pipe cleaner when washing dogs rings. mentalist. I walked back to my room without my shoes on (so as to not get poo in ‘em) and had to scrub my socks and hands. Couldn’t walk my fave dog in the morning as there was a little wuss of a husky in the run that led to Woo Tong’s and apparently you couldn’t get it on a lead (I did, fairly easily, later on in the day when no one was looking). We started the normal afternoon routine and it started chucking it down. They made us wait about for another 45 minutes instead of just letting us go, for some reason.

Saw a praying mantis today. It jumped onto Sam’s arm. Also saw a lot of nice butterflies earlier and a dead beetle that was about five inches long.